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Sorry, I’m doing my best.

“Sorry, I Am Doing My Best”
   In many cases “Doing your best” is desirable, acceptable and commendable.  But not in all circumstances.  We can imagine a hundred scenarios where the excuse  “I am doing my best” would be met with the response along these lines:  “Well, your best is not good enough”.
    Imagine an employee who is fired after repeatedly being late telling her boss “Sorry, but, I am doing my best.”  Or a baseball player who strikes out 18 times in a row and then when his manager replaces him with another player complaining, “it’s not fair, I am doing my best.”  Imagine the response of a wife who hears her husband say: “Don’t be mad, I am doing my best” after repeated acts of infidelity.  Sometimes the defense “Sorry, I am doing my best” is simply not good enough.
   Most times in life the phrase “Sorry, I am doing my best” does not excuse poor behavior or avert consequences.  Look at the picture above; I don’t think it makes much difference to this kid that the shooter of the arrow was doing his best. But somehow we think that this line of thinking should work as a perfectly acceptable reason to God.  We don’t think God should be angry or respond to us in any punitive way.  We don’t think it is fair that we reap what we sow. We convince ourselves that He should accept our sincerest intentions even if they wind up in disobedience and sin.  While  the excuse “Sorry, I am doing my best” does not pan out in most realms of life we somehow think God should be above all that and be understanding and forgiving.
     While it is by grace we are saved (Ephesians 2:8) Scripture is replete with the thought that we are expected to obey and diligently walk in the way He has directed us. King Saul finds out that hard way that doing his best was not good enough.  When he disobeyed the directives that Samuel had given him regarding the Amalekites and their king  Samuel is very direct and stern with him: (1 Samuel 15:22-23)
 But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected  the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”
     No matter how patient, kind and grace filled God is He still requires that we would be obedient to His commands.  Although I believe He is a God of endless chances and opportunities I also know He does not want us simply to “do our best.”  He expects us to be obedient and to keep His commands as well as keep our promises to Him.  His holiness in us compels and propels us to live in alignment with His character and will.  The most loving thing He could do for us is to raise the bar and set the standard of obedience.  In fact, it would be totally unloving, uncaring and completely unhelpful if He let us slide through life just “doing our best.” How helpful or loving is it to allow us to continue to wallow in sin?  How kind is it to let us violate the laws He has set up?   It may be a good mantra for children as they learn a new skill or try to achieve something they have not yet mastered.  But for those who desire to be like Jesus let us hope He never settles for us just “doing our best.”  Because that will never be good enough.
 What do you think?  How does it make you feel?